By Jim Fair

The Holy Father on July 20, 2020, visited the children participating in Estate Ragazzi (Summer Kids Camp) that is taking place inside Vatican City State these days. The children were eating breakfast in Paul VI Hall, according to the statement by the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni.

Pope Francis visited each table, conversing with the children. He also visited the play areas set up inside the Hall and spoke with the summer camp “counselors”, responding to their questions and thanking them for their work.

A little while later, sitting down with the children, the Pope encouraged them to make new friends. “People who only know how to have fun by themselves are selfish. You have to be together, with friends, to have a good time.” Finally, before returning to Santa Marta around 10:00, he greeted the people managing the camp and thanked them for their work.

Summer Kids Camp opened at the beginning of July. It is taking place both in the Vatican Gardens, the heliport, and in Paul VI Hall, according to Vatican News. About 100 children of Vatican employees, ages 5 to 14, are participating in moments of fun, games, learning, and prayer. Activities include swimming, tennis, football, ping pong, and basketball matches, sliding down an inflatable slide while all anti-Covid precautionary measures are being observed.

The Vatican Governorate organized the Camp on the request of Pope Francis. Father Franco Fontana, the chaplain of the Vatican Gendarmerie is coordinating the initiative. He summarized the motivation behind Summer Kids Summer Camp: to give children the opportunity of “living their summer serenely”. Members of the Salesians of Don Bosco are collaborating in managing the camp along with an association called “Tutti in una festa” (Everyone in one party).

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